The last few months have certainly held their share of excitement!  To top it all off, I had the pleasure last week of leading the Bishops of Region XII on their annual retreat at the Archbishop Brunett Retreat Center south of Seattle, Washington.

The Church in the US is divided into fifteen regions, one of those regions includes all of the Easter Rite Churches, the others are various areas of the country.  Region XII consists of the arch/dioceses within Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  I was invited to be the retreat director before any of us knew I would become a member of the Region with my appointment as the Archbishop of Alaska.

You would have to ask the bishops how they thought I did, but for me, it was an honor to lead these men in a week of prayer.  One day was designated a ‘desert day,’ so there were no talks on that day, just the homily for Mass.  All of the other days consisted in two talks and a homily.  The experience of being a director is certainly different from one making a retreat, but there was a true grace experienced from my perspective as well.  God always rewards those who make a gift of self to others.

Now, it is time for some rest.  Just about everybody in Alaska takes some time away during the winter months, and I decided after I received the news of my appointment that I would also get away in January.  Tomorrow, I will depart for a two week cruise in the Caribbean.  With the forecast for next week looking at high temperatures in the sub-zero zone for Anchorage, it will make the time in the warmth and sun all the more appreciated!

I took great solace in today’s Office of Readings passage from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 42: 15-43:13:

As the sun in shining looks on all things, so the work of the Lord is full of his glory.

May you know the loving gaze of the Lord always and everywhere, no matter where you are in your journey of faith, no matter where you are within his holy creation.